Are These Really The Best 10 Sales Books You Must Read?

future publishing 'best 50 books' mag cover

Well, no. But according to a glossy I read, published this year, these are their ten must-reads for any aspiring superseller;

  1. Secrets of closing the sale Zig Ziglar
  2. The perfect pitch Jon Steel
  3. Selling the invisible Harry Beckwith
  4. The psychology of selling Brian Tracy
  5. What great salespeople do Bosworth & Zoldan
  6. Sales bible Jeffrey Gitomer
  7. Spin selling Neil Rackham
  8. Yes Cialdini et al
  9. The greatest salesman in the world Og Mandino
  10. Persuasion James Borg

Well, I’ve read six of these. Whilst a couple of them are indeed worth a read, would I really make them mandatory?

Then I read the comment boxes that sum up at the end of each review. Here’s the ‘accolade’ for their ninth choice. A 1968 book which apparently seeks to advise on all things Sales through “the legend of the ten scrolls”. Taken from the BCE life millennia ago of a chap called Hafid, “a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance”.

“Though the style of this book is dated and the inspirational scrolls a little corny today it’s a book which makes you think and serves as the perfect pick-me-up…”

Whoa. Then I also read their “verdict” on tenth place.

“Though this book doesn’t stand up alongside the strongest titles of the “persuasion” genre, as a handy and practical guide to everyday persuasive communication, it’s still worth investing some time in it.”

Hardly smothered by garlands. Can these really be the best of the bunch?

Over the years I’ve been tapped a few times for my selling book recommendations. An Aussie I recall recently was holding the updated Miller-Heiman text as he asked me what books he ought read. I remember suggesting that the one he had in his hands was a decent start.

The problem many things labelled Sales have is the evangelic Americanism of the subject. At least four of the above list suffers here.

When I’m forced to reveal my favourite pop-sales author, I tend to namecheck Tom Hopkins. It’s twenty years since I read his How To Master The Art Of Selling. Yet at the time I felt it infinitely preferable to the alien writings of a Ziglar, or dare I say it, Robbins.

In the same way the editors of this ranking have split Business into several sub-disciplines, Sales demands similar treatment.

For a long while now I gravitate towards books that take a specific nuance of selling and go deep into it alone, that’s over choosing a soup-to-nuts how-to trying to cover off everything.

I would draw attention to a pair of these ten. Cricket fan Neil Rackham did genuinely come up with something through “spin”. And every salesperson should have a knowledge of what he’s about. And the compilation Yes! is a must-read. It’s subtitle evokes 50 persuasion science secrets. I bought my copy from the then spangling brand new Eurostar terminal on my way to Brussels and devoured it like a glutton oblivious to my slobber as I chomped through each easy to bite delicious morsel.

And one final extra. I did enjoy this bookend page at the end of their section on Sales (click for my full-size pic).

I like the treatment. Isn’t it a good way of having a similar page in a Prop? You could have say, client quotes as references this way, or remarks from within your prospect on why the ‘problem’ looms large. But not all quotes shown here are winners though. Mind you, I do like a lot the Henry Ford one;

“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.”

on sales (page of quotes)

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